Here’s a little something different to brighten up your afternoonss (or whenever you happen to read this). South of the 6ix and Jays Droppings will be collaborating on some material for all of you to indulge in, and hijacking Mike Wilner’s “Blue Jays Talk” will be one of them. In addition, there will be more multimedia adventures for your viewing (and listening) pleasures in the near future. But for now, I’m going to take the liberty to excuse Mr. Wilner from answering questions after last night’s game and take the reins.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think Mike Wilner does a poor job answering the questions that are given to him. On the contrary, I think he’s a very intelligent man (even though he’s blocked me on Twitter for quite some time now). However, I do feel that it’s helpful to offer a different perspective when it comes to answering questions to broaden horizons and understandings. I’m Adam from SOT6, and with that, let’s dive right in.
Q1 – Saheem (sp?) in Toronto – Concerned with the delay of game due to bench clearing balls. Suggests that, like the NBA, only the coaches (read: managers) can leave the dugout instead of the entire team.
Answer: I hear you on the delay aspect, but you can’t compare apples to oranges. The NBA and the MLB aren’t equivalent and you can’t apply the same rules from one to another. It’s just that simple. The problem here is that, in these instances – specifically last night – the managers of each team literally have no idea what was said, what was exchanged, the intent of the player, etc. It’s sort of obscure to have a manager run out in defense of the player(s) without knowing what happened; even though this happens all the time. At that point, the manager will come out and say “OK, what happened?” and now the thing you’re trying to avoid – a delay – will inevitably occur.
The real solution here is to disallow players from entering the field, at all. Should they break this rule, the MLB ought to issue fines. I agree, bench clearing nonsense like last night is pointless. If you really want to speed up the pace of play, forget the intentional walk rule or whatever – handle this. Once you attack a player’s pocket, it’s more likely that cooler heads will prevail. But that’s just me.
Q2 – Nathan in Toronto – Something really bothered Nathan. Nathan is disappointed in what Kevin Pillar uttered after being quick pitched – which has since been pretty much confirmed – and is calling for some accountability on behalf of Pillar and the Jays.
Answer: Wilner initially takes the agnostic approach by saying that we don’t know what Pillar said, but granted this was almost immediately following the game. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t have the luxury to see it on replay as many times as you and I have. So he gets a pass here.
Now, in regards to Pillar and the comment. I plan on doing a more extensive write up on this matter, but you’re damn right Pillar should be held accountable. Short of straight up admitting it, Pillar addressed his tantrum by stating that it was a moment of immaturity it should not define him. I honestly don’t think that’s enough and a more straightforward apology is absolutely necessary. When someone uses that sort of term, it doesn’t fully define you, but it certainly lends a whole boatload of evidence towards your character. This whole “boys will be boys” thing is so archaic and dismissive that it completely ignores the severity that those type of insults carry. A statement from the Blue Jays and Pillar will go a long way, and I wouldn’t be surprised if either a fine or suspension from the MLB is issued. It’s inexcusable and reprehensible; I agree, Nathan.
Q3 – Jay in Orillia – Jay thinks Biagini was pulled too early and wants to know where he fits in the rotation in the future – ie. Does Liriano go to the bullpen and Biagini remain a starter?
Answer: In a normal situation for the Blue Jays in which the pitcher doesn’t hit and there’s a DH, I’d agree that Biagini was pulled maybe an inning too early. But you have to understand, Biagini has been in a relief role for the vast majority of his short tenure as a Blue Jay. A relief pitcher can’t just turn the switch and expect to go 6-7 innings as a starter on a dime. Handling Biagini with kid gloves as he transitions to a starter is the norm and should be expected. Once he has a handful of starts under his belt, you can expect his pitch count and innings to increase should the Jays need him longer than anticipated. Which leads to the Liriano to the bullpen suggestion. I wouldn’t count on that. When looking at the two pitchers – Liriano and Biagini – exclusively, it’s not hard to see who’d be more valuable out of the pen as a set-up man (it’s Biagini). Biagini has proven to be reliable in that role, even though he’s proven to be a capable starter in the rotation. I’d say once the entire rotation is healthy (whenever that’ll be), expect Biagini to go back to the pen.
Q4 – Matt in St. Thomas – Praises Marcus Stroman and defends his show of emotion during clutch situations.
Yeah, Stroman is good and the whole antiquated philosophy as acting as emotionless robots is fading quickly. Nothing really more to add.
Q5 - Zach in Toronto – Addresses how the Braves hit Travis in the 6th inning and is concerned with how the “retaliation” aspect of the game relays to children. He sees no sense of intentionally beaning someone.
Zach, I understand your concern as to the lesson this teaches children. This may sound a bit contradictory to my rants against the old-school style of thinking of “that’s how the game is played!” regarding the show of emotion, bat-flips, etc. But, unfortunately this is how baseball has been for ages. I don’t defend it, but in order for it this type of “tit-for-tat” mentality to be completely eradicated, it needs to be more heavily policed. In other words, as I’ve mentioned previously, once you start punishing players by reaching into their pockets, this whole “how the game is played!” narrative will begin to look silly to them. I think it’s a bit ridiculous for a pitcher to intentionally try to bean a batter with a 95 mph heater at any part of his body. It’s juvenile when you really think about it. Even if you take the whole “think about the children!” aspect away, it’s still dumb and ought to be enforced more than it is. However, to expect it to change overnight is overambitious. Quite honestly, I think this will be a tradition that remains.
Q6 – Chris in Alliston – Chris is offering some optimism, suggesting that the Jays – with the “meat and potatoes” on the DL – aren’t playing that poorly and lends a glimmer of hope. He goes on to equivocate where they are in the standings to the past two years; both of which resulted in consecutive ALCS appearances.
It’s true that with Donaldson, Tulowitzki, Martin, Happ, Pearce, Liriano on the DL, it’d be fair to assume that the Jays would be way worse off than they actually are. Given the injuries, the Jays have been able to keep their heads above water, but it’s still hard to envision them climbing out the hole they’ve dug themselves into entirely. That’s not to say that it’s impossible – it certainly isn’t. But with the uncertainty surrounding the recovery of some of their more important players (Donaldson, Martin, Happ), it’s hard to see it. I don’t want to give off the impression that I think that the season’s over and we should all throw in the towel. Hell, even if it was a definite end to their playoff hopes, I’d still watch. But with how hard it is to recover from such a deficit, it’s hard to see. It’s not like they aren’t trying, and I’m sure no one is as frustrated as the players on the roster. As I’ve said before – it’s not pretty, but it’s not over.
Q7 – Sydney in Toronto – Wants to know who bats 2nd when Donaldson and Tulowitzki comes back – suggesting that perhaps Carrera should.
OK, first of all, no. Carrera should not bat 2nd in the lineup when you have either Donaldson or Bautista to choose from. I don’t want to take anything away from Carrera who, to his credit, has played better than I anticipated. But when you have those options to man the front portion of the lineup, it’s hard to choose Carrera.
Second of all, if I had to guess, I’d assume Donaldson would bat 2nd. His track record speaks for itself and the security he provides at that spot in the lineup trumps anything that Carrera has provided you. Is this a serious suggestion?
Q8 – Eddie in Fort Erie – Expresses his love of Interleague Play for fans, as it gives them an opportunity to explore different ball parks that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. His only gripe with it is how “unfair” it is, as it makes AL pitchers more prone to injury as they have to bat when visiting NL parks.
Eddie, I understand that Interleague Play offers an opportunity to see other ballparks from another division that your favorite team isn’t a part of. But this certainly doesn’t make it inaccessible otherwise, right? I mean, you could go to any other ballpark, regardless of whether or not your favorite team is playing at any time. Sure, it makes it more desirable to go when your favorite team is there, but if you have the chance to see a different ballpark, you should go regardless.
Regarding the fairness of Interleague Play, I don’t agree. Part of the allure of it is seeing the opposition play by the rules of the home team’s division. It offers a different perspective that I personally appreciate. Do I think pitchers should bat, at all? No. But until that rule changes, I like that aspect of Interleague Play.